HĀYEDA, the stage name of MAʿṢUMA DADEBĀLĀ (b. Tehran, 21 Farvardin 1321 Š./10 April 1942; d. San Jose, Calif., 30 Dey 1368 Š./20 January 1990; Figure 1, Figure 2), popular Persian singer. Her parents were Moḥammad Dadabālā and Zinat Bolḡāri. Hāyeda primarily distinguished herself by a naturally rich, operatic alto voice, which she further refined by acquired accuracy, lyricism, and versatility. Her vocal aesthetics bore comparison with another Persian alto singer, the vocalist Delkaš, who had preceded her. Aside from her own considerable vocal abilities, Hāyeda’s popularity with Persian audiences primarily derived from her mastery of the fundamental, generative, vocal repertoire of Persian music, the modal arias known as radif-e āvāz. For nearly two decades, Hāyeda performed the āvāz and interpreted popular traditional and contemporary songs, all based on the modal system of traditional Persian music (see DASTGĀH). These performances secured her a place on the roster of leading performers and interpreters of popular songs in the 20th-century Persian music.

Hāyeda immigrated to the United States in 1979 and continued her career as a vocalist. She died in San Jose and was buried in Westwood Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

Initial recognition and musical training. Hāyeda was born into a musically endowed family. Her younger sister, known by her stage name Mahasti, had already achieved full status among professional singers when Hāyeda joined them. She apprenticed with masters of Persian music, beginning with her mentor and vocal teacher the master violinist and composer ʿAli Tajwidi, who had also cooperated with Delkaš. Hāyeda was already conversant with music when Tajwidi informally heard her interpret one of his own songs at a social gathering in the early 1970s. He immediately recognized the rare registers of her deep alto voice, which manifested an extensive middle range and effortlessly reached the fullness of the contralto. Tajwidi offered to provide her with tutorials and assist her in learning the vocal repertoire of Persian vocal music. From the beginning, her expansive and well-modulated voice attracted a combination of strong critical and popular attention.

Musical career. Upon the completion of her apprenticeship with Tajwidi and under his direction Hāyeda debuted on Radio Iran’s "Šomā o rādio” (You and the Radio). This performance proved to be a defining musical moment in her career as a vocalist (Ḵaṭibi, p. 373). She interpreted Tajwidi’s song Āzāda in the mode (dast-gāh, q.v.) Segāh with lyrics by the well-known poet and songwriter Rahi Moʿayyeri. On this occasion, Hāyeda also delivered the āvāz (q.v.) of Segāh that featured a azal by Moʿayyeri, accompanied by Tajwidi on the violin and Majid Najāḥi on the santur. Her vocal mastery in this initial performance established Hāyeda as a vocalist. Under Tajwidi’s direction and tutelage, she quickly enhanced her reputation in other formal and informal public performances.

Subsequently, Hāyeda performed on Radio Iran’s program Golhā (q.v.) with other distinguished Persian musicians such as the violinist and songwriter Homāyun Ḵorram, pianist Jawād Maʿrufi, ney player Ḥasan Nāhid, tār players Fereydun Ḥāfeẓi, Jalil Šahnāz, Farhang Šarif, and tombak (a single-headed drum) player Amir Nāṣer Eftetāḥ. The lyricists Karim Fakur, Rahi Moʿayyeri, Nawwāb-e Ṣafā, Bižan Taraqqi, and Parviz Wakili also wrote lyrics for the songs that she interpreted on this program. Under the direction of Homāyun Ḵorram, Hāyeda twice collaborated with master of traditional āvāz, the vocalist Moḥammad-Reżā Šajariān. These performances were not duets but rather separate dual participation on the same program. This vocal prototype appears to have served Hāyeda as a pattern for subsequent cooperation with other popular singers, such as ʿAli-Akbar Golpāyagāni, Ḥomeyrā, Mahasti, Homā Mir Afšār, Moʿin, Sat-tār, Vigen Dārdāriān, etc.

During her quite short, but intense and varied, career, Hāyeda often performed the basal āvāz, always with her characteristic elegiac and projective vocal powers. She left behind a legacy of 200 recorded traditional, popular, and contemporary songs. Besides Ḵorram and Tajwidi (in the early stages of her career), she also worked with songwriters such as Jahānbaḵš Pāzuki, Anuširavān Ru-ḥāni, Jamšid Šeybāni, Ṣādeq Nujuki, Moḥammad Ḥaydari, Farid Zolānd, and Ḥosayn Wāṯeqi. Lyricists such as Hedya (Leylā Kasrā), Ardalān Sarfarāz, and Homā Mir Afšār also provided lyrics for the later period of her vocal performances.

After her departure from Persia in 1979 until her death from a heart attack in 1990, Hāyeda made numerous recordings and appeared in live concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall, The University of California in Los Angeles, and other formal venues as well as regular and less formal appearances elsewhere in Europe and the United States.

Hāyeda’s vocal and performative style. Analogous to Delkaš before her, Hāyeda sang with technical authority and passionate energy. Her laryngeal control made it possible for her to produce a series of graceful vibrato and glissando vocalizations required by the āvāz. She could smoothly pass from the upper reaches of her alto voice to the lower, fuller, and darker range of the contralto. This mixture of strong laryngeal strength and learned vocal technique gave her alto-contralto voice a rare, powerful resonance, and texture in the performance of the āvāz. Furthermore, an acute sense for musical timing, the rhythmic flow of vocal music, affective musical phrasing, and poetic delivery enabled her to express and interpret effectively any songs she sang.



Delkaš, Interview with Erik Naḵja-vāni, 18 November 1999. Parviz Ḵaṭibi, Ḵāṭerāt-i az honarmandān, Los Angeles, 1994, p. 371.

Selected audiocassettes. Hāyeda-nāma: Hāyeda’s Greatest Hits, Aplon Records, n.d.; Masti, Ahang-rooz, n.d;

Compact disks. (a) Āvāz and Songs: Raftam, in the modeHomāyun, Caltex Records, n.d.; Āzāda and Faryād az in jodaʾi, in the modes Eṣfahān and Māhur, Caltex Records, n.d.; with Moḥamad-Reżā Šajariān (Siāvaš), Afsāna-e šĭrin and Ḵalwat-e del, in modes Eṣfahān and Māhur, Caltex Records, n.d. (b) Songs: Daštestāni, Caltex Records, n.d.; Šānahā-yat rā barā-ye gerya dust dāram, Taraneh Enterprises, 1990; Be-zan tār, Taraneh Enterprises, 1991; Ašnāʾi, Caltex Records, 1991; The Best of Hāyeda 1, Caltex Records, 1991; Ḵarābāti, Caletx Records, 1991; Ḵodā ḥāfeẓ, Caltex Records, 1991; Gol-e vāža, Taraneh Enterprises, 1991; Ruzhā-ye rowšan, Pars Video, 1992; Pādšah-e ḵubān, Pars Video, 1992.

Videocassettes. Hāyeda Live in Concert 2, Pars Video, n.d.; Hāyeda Live in London’s Albert Hall, Pars Video, n.d.; Hāyeda dar konsert-e musqi-e Aṣil, Pars Video, 1993.

In cooperation with others. With Ḥomeyrā and Mahasti, Taraneh Enterprises, n.d.; Golhā-ye ḡorbat (with Moʿin), Taraneh Enterprises, n.d.; Bazm 1 (with ʿAli-Akbar Golpāyagāni and Homā Mir Afšār), Caltex Records, 1991; Bazm 2 (with Golpāyagāni and Wafāʾi), Caltex Records, 1991; Hamḵun (with Vigen), Pars Video, 1999; Hāyeda in Concert at UCLA, Pars Video, 1993.

(Erik Nakjavani)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 1, pp. 73-74